Debra Prinzing

Great News: American Grown Flowers decorated last week’s White House State Dinner

February 21st, 2014

(c) Washington Post image of California irises and Florida tropical foliage.

(c) Washington Post image of California irises and Florida alocasia foliage.

The White House has had a long-standing tradition of featuring and celebrating American grown food and wine during its state dinners.  Menus and wine pairings are carefully selected months in advance to ensure that only the freshest and finest American grown ingredients are used during these important special events. 

And now, acknowledged for the first time ever, the centerpiece flowers are 100% American grown. 

This is a HUGE cause for celebration in all 50 states where flower farmers are working hard to make a decent living from their land; working hard to grow unique, high quality flowers for American consumers; working hard to keep their employees on the payroll; and working hard to stimulate the economy in their own communities. As one of my supporters of the Slowflowers.com campaign on Indiegogo wrote about supporting American Grown Flowers:  ”The whole concept makes so much sense –what is there not to get???” 

According to a recent blog post by USDA Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden, the Obama White House made a deliberate effort to not only feature the diversity and bounty of American grown agriculture, but also its beauty.  Deputy Secretary Harden’s post highlighted the extra effort by the Obama Administration to feature American Grown flowers and greens that were proximately displayed during last week’s state dinner with France’s President Francois Hollande. 

“The dinner celebrated the ‘best of American cuisine’ and featured dry aged rib eye beef from Colorado, trout from Maine, cheese from Vermont, chocolate from Hawaii, and potatoes from New York, Idaho, and California.  The wines served at the dinner included excellent selections featuring California, Washington State, and Virginia offerings,” shared USDA Deputy Secretary Harden on the Department’s blog.  “However, beyond the menu itself an equally impressive feature was the visible presence of American cut flowers.”

Extending the White House’s rich tradition of featuring American Grown food and wine to include flowers is a timely sign of support for U.S. flower farmers.   Flowers from California, Mississippi, New Jersey, Virginia, and Florida were all included.   

“We very much appreciate President Obama and his Administration’s decision to showcase American grown flowers at this recent state dinner,” said California Cut Flower Commission’s CEO/Ambassador Kasey Cronquist.  “Having the White House ensure that the flowers at the center of the table are as fresh, sustainable and local as the food during a state dinner shows great support to our family flower farms in California and across the country.  The decision by this Administration to source and feature locally grown blooms is a significant affirmation of the growing momentum among consumers for more American grown flowers.”

What’s next? Let’s get this practice codified and see even MORE American Grown Flowers on the table at White House dinners! I can only assume last week’s BIG AMERICAN FLORAL EVENT is the beginning of a White House commitment to give as much attention to the origins of its flowers as it does the origins of the food and wine it serves to guests. 

Mrs. Obama, you have single-handedly stimulated the American fashion industry by supporting our country’s creative designers. Please bring that same passion to the flower world. There are so many parallels between wearing beautiful, American-designed and American-made clothing AND filling vases with beautiful, American-grown flowers on the White House’s tables. Flowers are just as important and taking the leadership to feature them will touch just as many lives of Americans!

 WHAT CAN YOU DO TO SUPPORT THIS ENDEAVOR? Please log onto the USDA Blog Post and add your comment of support for getting more American grown flowers on the White House tables!

6 Responses to “Great News: American Grown Flowers decorated last week’s White House State Dinner”

  1. Mike Weston Says:

    Nice. Hope it continues. I don’t know if irises are indicative of any change, though. When I worked for a retail florist/grower, irises were one of the few things that we could justify continuing to grow, after the influx of South American flowers.

  2. Kelly Sullivan (Botanique) Says:

    Yes!!!! What amazing news!!!!!

  3. Lori Eschler Frystak Says:

    Thanks to the White House for using American flowers. Kasey Cronquist and Debra Prinzing are doing a great job raising the awareness of local flowers!
    Lori Eschler Frystak´s last blog post ..Valentine’s Day Pop-Up Flower Shop for Locavores

  4. Kathy York Says:

    Local flowers, the only way to go!! Especially since there are so many GREAT cut flower growers in the D.C. area.

  5. Debra Prinzing » Post » SLOW FLOWERS Podcast: American Flowers (and Flower Farmers) Go to Washington (Episode 132) Says:

    […] predict that someday soon, when every room of the White House is filled with American Grown Flowers and every single event staged by the Administration in power is decorated and signified by flowers […]

  6. Debra Prinzing » Post » SLOW FLOWERS Podcast: Flower Confidential with Amy Stewart (Episode 140) Says:

    […] public function. That was the State Dinner for the French President on February 11th. You can read my February 21st blog post, and my analysis of that event […]

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